Breastfeeding: Angry Bird In A Swamp

September 30, 2012

My mom used to say that in the early days of raising us girls she slept in a swamp. Before having Mazen, I didn’t quite get what could be so….damp….about nursing. Now I get it!! Smile

mazen5days0281

My perception of breastfeeding before actually doing it was like an on/off switch – if your baby suckled, milk came out. However, it is much messier than that! I leak on one side while he’s feeding on another (I learned this this hard way and soaked a shirt when we had company over!) Sometimes when I get out of a hot shower I’m already leaking. I leaked through washable breast pads and can only use the disposable ones right now. Mazen sometimes spits up all over me. We sweat together when we’re skin-to-skin when it’s hot. Sometimes his diaper leaks on me. It’s a SWAMP!

Going back to his birth, I was lucky that he latched on right away. He nursed for about 45 minutes right after birth. It didn’t hurt and sort of felt like you’d expect it would if a baby was gently sucking on your nipple. He also didn’t go through that 24-hours-of-sleepiness that most newborns do – he wanted to eat every 2 hours from the start! The nurses and lactation consultants said his latch looked great. A LC told me what a swallow sounded like – a little sigh almost – and I’m glad because it assured me he was actually getting colostrum.

IMG_5280

I’d say it was maybe the middle of day 2 when it started to hurt. My nipples just started to get sore. His suck was stronger, and he was tugging his way through the feedings. My doctor recommended these Soothies cooling pads, and I started wearing them all the time. They really did soothe.

On day two at lunchtime, my parents brought me my first placenta pills from home (I had my placenta encapsulated and it was ready just about 24 hours after the birth – more on that in another post). By that evening, my boobs were hard as rocks, and my real milk had come in! I’m not sure if the placenta was entirely to thank for the quick arrival, but I think the timing was pretty fast for a first time mom otherwise.

IMG_5309

The rest of week 1, my nipples hurt pretty badly. They started to get scabs and one time (I’m very lucky it was only one time!) one of them bled enough that Maze spit up some of the blood. It was quite horrifying, and thankfully didn’t happen again.

Part of the reason it hurt is that his lower jaw would just not open quite wide enough. LC’s and nurses had me tugging it down on it to encourage him to open wider, but it just felt like he was chomping with his lower gums rather than making the complete duck lips. Imagine if you had a cut on your arm and someone was pushing on it with a screwdriver. over and over and over. That’s kind of how it felt! I tried using lanolin, but I found it incredibly sticky and it hurt to rub on. I found the Mother Love Nipple Cream (which I had ordered in advance upon recommendation) to be SO much better. But it didn’t seem to be helping me all that much with the soreness. Now that I’m less sore, though, I can tell this cream does help reduce surface pain a bit. Love that it’s all natural and it rubs on so well too.

IMG_6277-2

One night when it hurt particularly badly and I was tired and not looking forward to another 8 hours of feeding and rocking, I broke down in tears. I totally understood why women give up on breastfeeding. Matt offered to watch Maze for more of the night so I could get better sleep and gave me an encouraging pep talk. It helped a lot.

That evening, my friend had told me that her midwife told her that the Soothies pads were better for short term use and that when used 24/7, they prevented healing. (I still use them on occasion – chilled – after a rough feeding, but don’t wear them full time.) Apparently open air (and sunlight!) was the best thing to “put on.” So that night, I slept topless.

And I believe that night was a turning point.

During the next few days, Maze seemed to open his mouth wider. Rather than chomping like a fish when I offered, he started holding his mouth open like a baby bird. We were making progress. Now I understand why breastfeeding is something that both mom and baby have to learn together.

IMG_20120910_122620-2

I decided also to put more effort into getting his latches right. I went to KellyMom.com and watched videos on You Tube. I observed what “drinking” looks like in comparison to “nibbling.” He was doing a fair amount of nibbling at the end of his feedings. His latch looked good though and he was clearly “drinking.” I worked on pointing my nipple up to the roof of his mouth, which also helped to get it in a better position. And I learned how to unlatch him without pain (pry the finger in and open the jaw before attempting to pull out!) Before I was afraid to unlatch him because that hurt almost as much as the bad latch itself!

Lastly, I went to see a volunteer from Le Leche League to give us some tips. She helped me with positions and said his latch was great – of COURSE he latched perfectly for her! It was still a helpful visit though, and I was glad for the reassurance. He put on his birth weight very quickly and making plenty of dirty diapers, so although I was being sent through the wringer, I knew he was happy.

Week 2 still hurt a lot, but we were getting better. We had a day or two of really good feeds followed by a bad day. By the beginning of week 3 [now], things are 90% good. Still a little pain with the latching on, but not the toe-curling, grunting, cursing kind from earlier.

Pillows

I brought the Boppy to the hospital, but once we were home I realized how much more supportive My Brest Friend is. It’s our nursing pillow of choice upstairs, and I use the Boppy when I’m down on the couch (sitting cross-legged it’s easier to use because I can bring it up higher). I’m glad I have both so I don’t have to lug a pillow up and downstairs all the time. I actually think nursing him without any pillow is kind of nice too, but it’s way too tiring on the arms to do that more than a little. I used to make fun of the little pocket on the Brest Friend pillow – it’s so little and seemed pointless! But then I realized it’s actually great for storing an extra breast pad, nipple cream and a burp cloth at all times. If only it had a built in water fountain too! We also do side lying position at night, which hurts more than the other positions, but we’re learning! My whole upper back actually was REALLY sore during the first week – despite the pillows, it was hard not to hunch. I was also picking him up a lot, which contributed to the tired muscles.

IMG_6278-2

Necessities

When it’s time to nurse, there are 3 things that I must have nearby:

1) My water bottle. A MUST! So thirsty. Thanks many times to Matt for rushing it to me filled with ice water.

2) My phone or tablet to use the Baby Connect app (so helpful for tracking these early weeks).

3) A burp cloth.

Do not try to breastfeed without a burp cloth! It will inevitably be the time when he spits up while he’s drinking – double the milk everywhere! We received a lot of burp cloths at our baby showers, and I use them all all the time!

IMG_6279

Clothing

I also didn’t realize how much breastfeeding would affect my wardrobe! At home, it’s not a big deal to pull up my shirt or just wear a bra (because if I went topless there would be lots of leaking!), but when we go out in public, I really have to think about the logistics of feeding him somewhat blindly under a cover (I feel most comfortable under a cover at this point in time.) This bra by Bravado is my favorite – so comfortable and surprisingly supportive for a seamless bra. I also bought a handful of nursing shirts from Motherhood Maternity and this Bravado tank that I LOVE but it has been too hot to layer too much with it. I have never been able to go braless in a tank top (even one with a built in bra) – until this one. One major drawback to breastfeeding: wearing a dress (that is not a nursing-specific or wrap dress) is pretty much impossible.

Covers

I have been using this cover in public and when my family was here, which I received from Bebe Au Lait to review on the blog.

IMG_5352

I have good things to say – the peek-a-boo neckline is super helpful (latching under a swaddle blanket is not nearly as easy to do) and the fabric is more than plentiful to cover 3/4 of my body and let his legs get some air. Just like the My Brest Friend, I laughed at the little pocket on the front when I first saw it, but I have since come to realize how handy it is for holding a breast pad while nursing!! Brilliant addition : ) My only complaint about the cover is it gets very hot under there. In the warmer months, this is a pretty big problem, however, once winter is here, it will be a huge plus! I’m not sure how to get around that in the summer – perhaps a more breathable fabric for warm months? But overall, very glad I have this because there’s nothing as convenient if you’re a little modest like me. It has allowed me to nurse at the mall, in restaurants, and whenever someone is visiting without showing anything.

Still need to learn: how to nurse in a sling/carrier!

Maze + Me

And now the important part: Maze is so cute when he nurses. He makes the funniest faces and raises his eyebrows at me. He looks up at me like a little whale with one eyeball. And after he’s done, he pops off and rests his head on me, using me like a little pillow, as if to say “Ahhhhhh this is the life.” After that he does these cute little stretches where he puts his arms above his head and flexes his biceps and squishes up his face. The silliest thing he does is what Matt and I call “Angry Bird” – he’s like a little woodpecker popping on and off and darting his little head around. It’s quite hilarious!! We have no idea why he does it. These are my favorite moments together.

IMG_5791

I’m still looking forward to the day when he latches on without any pain, and hopefully that day isn’t too far off.

mazen5days0277

Until he gets teeth, that is!!

{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries September 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

This is SO helpful! I know I’ll be referring back to these posts several months down the road. I’m glad things are going better for you!

Reply

2 Allison k September 30, 2012 at 9:41 am

Its really true that hormones make you forget te hard parts. We’ve been breastfeeding for 21 weeks, and while I remember the first few weeks being hard….it all seems like a vague/blurry memory now. I know it’s already easier for you…but it gets even easier, and more second nature. And the 30 minute feeding really does get shorter.

Reply

3 Steph September 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

Don’t worry too much about the teeth. My still-nursing daughter is 18 months old with lots of ‘em, and I can count on one hand the amount of times she has bit me. It’s never been hard enough to break the skin or anything, and she knows that it hurts mommy! I used to worry a lot about teeth as well, and was relieved to find out that the reality is nothing like I was fearing.

Reply

4 Hilary (Four Little Forks) September 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

Oh Kath, reading this brings back so many memories.. I had horribly sore, cracked nips with both my babies in the beginning. We had a few episodes of spitting up blood too, and I remember feeling so scared! Apparently, this is more common with fair-skinned mamas. Anyway, the good news is that it really does get better fast. In fact, by next week this should all be a distant memory.

Oh and I tried all the disposable nursing pads – Johnson & Johnson’s make the best by far (IMHO). Wish you lived closer because I have two boxes of ‘em that I never got around to using. At about 2-3 month, I was slowly able to incorporate the washable pads until I was using them exclusively.

Maze is such a dream. All these cute pics make me want #3!

Reply

5 Megan September 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

I have three kids and I breastfed all of them until 12-18 months of age. It HURT at the beginning with all 3. I aways thought, surely this time it won’t hurt. Well, it did, but it only was temporary and when the pain stopped, it was magical. So much so that I kept it up for so long. The latch is sooo important, but your nipples just have to callous up, like wearing a new pair of shoes. I found that as they got older and more curious about their surroundings, nursing in absolute solitude was necessary because any little noise they would turn their head, with my nipple still in their mouth! Ouch! And when the teeth come in, as long as the latch is good and there are no distractions, it USUALLY didn’t hurt at all. Notice the use of the word usually ;-). Keep it up…you are doing a great job and your family is beautiful!

Reply

6 Colleen September 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks for writing this post. I had the same experience with my second. He had the strongest jaw I’ve ever seen. My oldest was so gentle and so was my daughter, but man my second son was a terror on the boobs. It is definitely terrify to see blood when nursing. Hopefully everything works out for you and Mazen. After trying everything, I ended up switching to bottles with special ortho nipples. It was amazing relieve.

Reply

7 Tameeka September 30, 2012 at 10:10 am

Go Kath! go Mazen! (Cheering you with my Pom poms! Yay) great work! I can totally relate to the “swamp” feeling.. i remember crying and wailing about how ugly and un-womanly i felt!! ha! It does get easier! I would just say to myself “ok we’re gonna do this for one more week, then another and another and another” now Caleb is 4 months an its easy (and fast!).. Though he has just cut his first two teeth over the weekend so lets see how we go with that!

Reply

8 Melissa September 30, 2012 at 10:10 am

If you don’t end up using the lanolin for nursing purposes, don’t worry- I have found plenty of other uses for it. I stopped nursing about 7 months ago and the little purple tube is still hanging out in my bag. I use it for dry/ragged cuticles, diaper rash, eczema/small patches of dry skin, to help heal cuts, chapped lips. The best use for it is when my son has a cold, I smear it under his nose when it starts to dry out and it clears up the crusties really quickly. I use it for my own nose too. It is really sticky but I warm it up by rubbing a bit between my fingers before using it, which helps. That one tube has lasted me a whole year- finally need to buy a new one!

Reply

9 dee September 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Great tips! Always wondered what to do with all that I have leftover!

Reply

10 Tina Monji September 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

hang in there, Kath! I remember the days well. some people are leakers, as it seems you are, and so was I! I never mastered nursing without a cover because I always had to place a disposable pad in, and couldn’t do that AND pin up my bra with one hand! ha ha ha. the things us moms go through.

Reply

11 Alison September 30, 2012 at 10:14 am

Thank you for illustrating why finding support when things aren’t going smoothly is so important, it can make or break a nursing relationship! Kudos for you for persevering when the going got tough… the obstacles you ran into are so common and can be resolved with the right help. I’m sure you’ve been told this 100x before, but not only does it get easier, it just gets better and better.

And don’t worry too much about nursing with teeth, they keep them out the way! (And when they don’t, that means they’re not latched on anymore and the feeding is over, you’ll learn to get him off the breast in time before he can chomp down. ;) )

Reply

12 Chelsea September 30, 2012 at 10:18 am

Don’t worry-teeth don’t hurt unless they bite! That can be nipped in the bud though pretty easily. :)

Reply

13 Nicole September 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

Even though everyone tells you to expect pain/soreness when you start breastfeeding, you can’t quite know exactly how it feels until it actually happens to you!

We had our baby girl last Tuesday and came home Friday. While in the hospital, I had no trouble getting her to nurse, although I dreaded using my left side since it got sore quickly. Friday night (first night home) was awful. She was so fussy and wouldn’t feed. I think it was a combination of the new environment plus my milk was starting to come it, and maybe some gassiness. She went from a very brief 2:30 AM feeding until 12:30 PM before I could finally get her to latch. It was so stressful because she’d been doing well at the hospital but now wouldn’t at home. Last night was much better thankfully, although she would only nurse for a few minutes at each feeding.

Your hospital must have more lac consultants on hand than mine. I called twice yesterday with no response since all you can do is leave a message on a machine.

Reply

14 Mom October 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Nicole, Mothers like La Leche League too. You could see if there is one in your area.

Reply

15 Katie September 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

My son is 2.5 weeks old and does the angry bird thing too! It is so funny and makes us laugh every time. I am also experiencing many of the same things you are. You aren’t alone! I also save horrible leakage issues. Have you had the night sweats yet? Between the leaking and excessive sweating every night I have to change the sheets every day! The joys of motherhood :)

Reply

16 KERF September 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

Luckily no night sweats – maybe placenta hormones are keeping those at bay?

Reply

17 Katie September 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Well I am taking placenta pills too. Maybe you just got lucky!! :)

Reply

18 KERF September 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Oh fun : ) Must just be chance then!

Reply

19 Kelley September 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

You are close. Week three everything clicks and the pain should go away. He is so cute!!

Reply

20 KERF September 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

I hope so!!

Reply

21 Rachel September 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

I’m 4 weeks away from my due date, and I’m feeling very apprehensive about breast feeding, but also very excited about the challenge. Thanks for being up front and honest about your struggles in this post.

Reply

22 Kristi September 30, 2012 at 11:14 am

I leaked A LOT and found good success with the wool nursing pads. They are the only thing that worked for me.

Reply

23 Anna September 30, 2012 at 11:18 am

I exclusively nursed my 16 mo. old until she was 12 months and the first 3 months were HARD. I actually would’ve given up if it wasn’t for our doc recommending a LC and the fact that our girl refused a bottle or pacifier.

I wanted to add that let down is what often hurts a lot of women. Some don’t feel it and some feel it in unlikely places like down the spine. For me, it felt like an intense dull ache all over my chest and shoulder blades and I don’t think it stopped until 3 or 4 months. Also, not everyone leaks which I think might dissuade some from nursing. I never had a leak which actually gave me a complex like I wasn’t making enough milk (well, that combined with a tiny baby who is still pretty small!).

Some things I loved with nursing was the Brest Friend pillow, nursing tank + tee combo – covering up never worked right, aden + anais blankets. I bought a lot of water bottles and left them around the house in case I sat down and couldn’t get back up for a while.

Breastfeeding is really hard but in hindsight, i almost think exclusively pumping or even formula feeding is harder with all the equipment, feeding the baby, clean up, etc. It gets way more mellow when solids start and by 8-10 months, I think we were nursing 3 or 4 times a day – just before naps/night time which made weaning a non-issue.

Reply

24 Kristianna October 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I babysat a formula fed 9 mo old for a friend once and man, I never realized what a hassle it is! Mostly because the baby was SO AWAKE by the time I’d warmed the bottle and all, so then I had to actually put him back to bed. None of what I was used to as a nursing mom: hear baby start to root, roll to side and nurse, we both fall asleep that way. How is that not easier than bottle feeding?? :)

Reply

25 Lulu September 30, 2012 at 11:56 am

Here’s a great youtube video for nursing a wrap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOdc2EmY0oI
Also check out the very helpful people on the babywearer.com for tips with wrapping and nursing, etc.

I highly recommend getting a german style woven wrap though – they are far more durable and useful in the long run than a stretchy wrap. You can eventually do back carries, wear into toddlerhood.

Reply

26 Lulu September 30, 2012 at 11:57 am

Oops, I meant, nursing *in* a wrap. I’m not sure there’s a video for nursing a wrap! lol

Reply

27 Jessica September 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

This was a really nice post. Sweet and affectionate.

Good for you for sticking with it. The first month of breastfeeding my first son was horrible. When the second baby came around, it was almost effortless. I couldn’t even tell when my milk came in because he was eating every drop.

Reply

28 Ginna September 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Im so sorry you are having pain. I think I am really lucky that although we had latching issues in the beginning I never had any pain. I did leak quite a bit and I am not a bra wearer at home so that part really sucked in the beginning! But trust me that too will even out and then sometimes it comes back (my almost 6 month old started sleeping at night but now is not so we are back to night feedings and now back to leaking when there are long stretches). It’s definitely an ebb and flow thing with everything breastfeeding! If you haven’t looked into it there are alot of fb breastfeeding support groups which helps when you have a question in the middle of the night. Just wait until he feeds and then pops off smiling at you. Best thing in the world!

Reply

29 coco September 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm

great job on BF! I know how hard is. It’s so true that it’s a partner endeavor, both mom and baby have to work to make it work!
I haven’t tried lanocin yet, Im using mother love after each feeding and so far it’s good.
It hurts when she latches but afterwards its better, I think my nipples are getting harder. So far no chopped nipple yet.
now I’m working on burping her after feeding. I’ve tried both the sitting and shoulder position, sometimes they work, but most of the time, I get nothing. Do you get burp every time?

Once milk came in, she started to spilled after feeding, usually 10 – 15 min later, kind of weird.

Finally, I find strange that the milk she spilled up is not white, it’s light yellow. Do you get that too Kath? do you think it’s the hindmilk?

Reply

30 KERF September 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Yes I think it is

Reply

31 Megan October 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I pumped milk for my baby for the first month of her life since she was in the NICU and unable to latch, so can tell you that it starts out pretty yellow and gradually becomes whiter that first month. At least in my case! I assume it’s that way for a lot of people. Not sure why, just found it interesting.

Breastmilk, liquid gold, literally :)

Reply

32 Sarah October 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

Breastmilk is often light yellow, whether or not it’s been in the baby for a few minutes. :) (I think it just looks mostly white in contrast to other things, but there’s a whole range of natural variation, tending towards yellowish for most moms. I think you’re right that the fat content of the hindmilk is part of that.)

Reply

33 Averie @ Averie Cooks September 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Kath this is an awesome post. The realities of breastfeeding to what it’s like, the letdowns, leaks, swamp-like moments, not being able to layer the tanks/tops due to already being hot, latching, how nursing effects wardrobe choices, pillow choices (for the early days, mybrestfriend was mandatory for me!), just the whole thing brought back so many memories and I was nodding in agreement with almost every sentence. Great post!

Glad you guys are working through it all and sticking with it and that mostly, overall, you’re doing great (minus the latch pain of course!)

Reply

34 Sarah September 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Oh, this sounds so familiar! I, too, had my milk come in on about the second day after my daughter was born, and leaked like crazy for months. I used disposable nursing pads for an entire year because I leaked so much on the side she wasn’t nursing on. That drove me nuts. We use cloth diapers and wipes, yet I was buying stupid disposable nursing pads. Fortunately after the first few months I didn’t completely soak those quite as often, so I could usually wear one pair all day and one pair overnight, but I still leaked through the washable ones. Somehow around a year, my body figured it out, and while I still have milk for her (she only nurses 2-3 times a day now at 17 months) I don’t leak so much.

Compared to some of my friends who struggled with low supply and worried that they never had enough milk, all of this is a very good problem to have, though!

I hope that the pain goes away for you soon. It took 5-6 weeks for me before it was entirely comfortable, but I think that’s on the long end of normal. Hopefully it will be sooner for you!

Reply

35 Sarah (the SHU box) September 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Random fact: not everyone leaks! I’ve heard it said that it’s a very all or nothing thing. I stocked up on breast pads before a was born and I have never leaked even a drop!! (spitting up however is still quite messy :) )

Reply

36 Amanda September 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

You’re getting there! The first few weeks are the hardest, but you’ve already identified so many of the positives.

For me, I think it was around week 6 that I *realized* it no longer hurt and that I no longer dreaded an upcoming feeding. That means it was sometime in week 4 or 5 that we started to turn the corner. (I wish I’d recorded more of those reflections for me to look back on.)

Also, my son is now 14 months old, has 11 teeth, and still nurses at bedtime and during the day when he wants comfort. When he started to teeth, I noticed that, as long as his latch was correct and he was paying attention, the teeth didn’t make a difference. The problem was when he got distracted. At that point, I had was of communicating to him that that hurt me and made me sad.

Reply

37 lauri September 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Funny, I was reading this while nursing miss B. It hurt the 1st week or two, but now Ireally don’t even feel it! Sometimes I have to look down to make sure she is still latched on, so it does get easier! One thing that is a MUST have for me is a backrest pillow (bought mine at target). I could never get the pillows just right when nursing her in the bed, I LOVE this pillow! And its great for reading in bed too :)

I can now say that I LOVE breastfeeding! Its also very rewarding when I hear people talk about how much they spend on formula! Also, Ihad a pretty nasty cold about a week ago, but brantley never caught it! I read that bf mommies are able to make antibodies so quickly that often times the baby is the only one in the house that does NOT share the cold! Very cool!

Reply

38 Regina September 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

My son does the same woodpecker thing! I call it the “hungry raptor” :)

Reply

39 KERF September 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Haha

Reply

40 Angelica September 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm

The Angry Bird is most likely your son rooting for a nipple! As for lanolin, I’ve found the Lansinoh brand to be super sticky and difficult, but the Medela brand is wonderful! The leaking should ease up over time, but hemp pads are super absorbent! Take care!

Reply

41 KERF September 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm

He does it most often at the end of a feeding though – it’s almost like it’s too slippery or he’s too tired to stay latched on?

Reply

42 Angelica September 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Aw, so sweet! I think it’s mostly a reflex than him being truly hungry. My daughter used to do this all the time. Now that she’s a year old, she just tries to pull down my shirt! Yikes!

Reply

43 ES September 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Ditto… medela > lasinoh.

Reply

44 Carrie September 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm

That same bravado bra and tank are my absolute favorites! I have another bravado bra that I don’t like nearly as much.

Reply

45 dee September 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Youre doing great! And thanks for a great and honest post about a very sensitive subject! Its so refreshing to read a real experience and not just the usual “its natural!” It may be natural but it doesnt mean its not hard. :)

Reply

46 Lindsay @ Fuel My Family September 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm

It took me a full 4 weeksfor it to be 100% painless (and like 3 1/2 with my second). Its like night and day. I LOVE nursing once that 4 week mark hits. So just make it a couple more days and you’ll be in the clear! My youngest is 13 months and we are still nursing. I am contemplating waiting a couple more months before I wean her, its just the most amazing bonding time and they are only babies for so long so I am holding on while I can!

Reply

47 Amanda September 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm

These are awesome tips. I can never thank you enough for sharing your expertise. We’re at 22 weeks now!!

Reply

48 Ella September 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Go mama! It only gets easier. You are awesome!

Reply

49 Lisa @ The Splattered Apron September 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm

It’s funny how similar and how different each mama and baby’s experience can be! I started off similar to you, perfect latch for the first few days followed by a few weeks of pain, then healing and less pain. At about 6 weeks it became the easiest and most natural thing in the world. Almost 14 months later, we’re still nursing once a day and we still love it. I had a TON of burp cloths ready to go when Caroline was born and then I didn’t need them at all. She has spit up maybe 7 times (but I think closer to 5) in her life. I was worried at first because she wasn’t spitting up, thinking that all babies always spit up, until I was reminded that it was a good thing! I also adored my cover and used it everywhere. Never did figure out how to nurse in a carrier, but I never needed to do so. Keep doing what you’re doing, mama!!

Reply

50 Sarah October 1, 2012 at 5:41 am

I’m going to have to revisit this post in February when my little man is born! Very helpful. My friend’s little one is 9 weeks old and she’s said that by 6 weeks in breast feeding is painless unless he’s not latched on properly. Before that she had similar experiences to you x

Reply

51 Allison October 1, 2012 at 6:36 am

Don’t worry about the teeth! I nursed all three of mine between 2-3 years each and didn’t get bit once.

Reply

52 Jess October 1, 2012 at 6:53 am

Great, realistic post about the beginning stages of breastfeeding. It’s so hard in the beginning but eventually becomes incredibly easy – much more so than measuring formula and cleaning bottles. Be proud of yourself for pushing through the hardest part.

How long do you plan to nurse Maze for? What is your goal?

Reply

53 KERF October 1, 2012 at 7:44 am

Goal off a year… But I’d go beyond if he wants to

Reply

54 Hilary October 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

You are doing great! Before you know it he will latch effortlessly and be able to pop on and off as he nurses with no help from you. I was much the same with my son – had sores on one nipple and it was so sore that I would cringe and tense up while he got latched on and sucking. You are right – it’s both of you learning.

My daughter has been so easy to nurse in comparison! She’s almost 4 months and I barely used my (My Brest Friend) pillow, we nursed in bed from the beginning, and almost no soreness whatsoever. Maybe it’s just her and her personality? Anyway, I’m so glad you are sticking with it! It’s funny to read your experience, because I think it is every woman’s experience – what you didn’t know! And everyone thinks, I was the same way! Ummm, so why don’t we tell each other these things?? Lol

Reply

55 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength October 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

You are so patient and such a great mom. I ended up turning to almost all pumping bc it hurt me so bad. Sometimes I wish I had kept trying longer, but then again I had to go back to work anyway so it kind of made sense for us at the time. You’re doing great!

Reply

56 Leslie October 1, 2012 at 9:34 am

I always wondered about nursing with teeth. I never had to do that because I weaned one baby at 8 months (hoping to get pregnant again) and the other weaned herself at 12 months. Neither had teeth yet (mine got theirs pretty late).

Reply

57 jen October 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

The anrgy bird title made me laugh becasue that’s what we always said our little girl looked like when she was trying to latch – it was the funniest and most endearing little face. She always looked so determined.

Glad to hear BFing is going better for you now. I’m wish you on the leakage and puking and all that. It was a lot “wetter” than I thought it would be too. And it was a serious bummer not being able to wear dresses. BFing wardrobe was an issue for me, particularly since with 6 extra lbs holding on my pre-PG clothes didn’t fit. I felt like I needed a whole additional wardrobe to get me through the next year of BFing.

Reply

58 KERF October 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

I’m wish you on the leakage and puking and all that.

Haha I thought you were “wishing puking on me”

(Got that it should read with : ) )

Reply

59 jen October 3, 2012 at 7:15 am

Ooops… yes. I would never wish extra puking and leaking on anybody! “With” you – I meant.

Reply

60 KERF October 3, 2012 at 8:19 am
61 Elizabeth October 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thank you for this informative post. This will be bookmarked for when my husband and I go from TTC to pregnant! I have learned so much about pregnancy from your baby Kerf blog…I will be sad when you stop writing for it.

Reply

62 Nicole October 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

I think you’ll find that the cover isn’t as necessary the older he gets. In the beginning, when you are both still learning, the latch-on process tends to be a bit more tedious. Once they hit about 3-4 months, all it takes is pretty much putting them there and they latch all on their own. At this point, it’s so easy to nurse discretely–even without the cover–since all you do is just slightly lift your shirt and the baby’s head covers everything. I had three very hot babies (they still are hot teenagers and almost never wear heavy winter coats) and I can tell you that when they hit about 4 months old, they did not tolerate the cover and would yank at it and pull it off. I was nervous with my first at this point but after learning how to latch him on discretely with no cover, the other two boys were pieces of cake and I never even used a cover with them.
Sometimes I think the cover actually draws more attention to the act of breastfeeding than just slightly lifting your shirt (once he’s a pro at latching on of course).

Reply

63 Kaydee October 1, 2012 at 11:37 am

I agree on all of the product recommendations! For pads though, you should try Lilypadz Silicone Nursing Pads. I LOVED them, and they’re re-usable. The re-usable cloth ones didn’t work for me either. The only thing you need to be careful is when you remove the pads and they’re full of milk. Just make sure you have a cloth ready to catch that leakage. But the fact that it will all stuck there shows that it works! Keep up the good work!

Reply

64 rebekah October 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I just wanted to let you know that I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I really enjoy it. I am a mom to an 8 year old (who I nursed until he was 2) and I am expecting another little boy in November. Breastfeeding was hard for me at first, too. I would have given up had it not been for the loving encouragement of my mother. I wanted to tell you that your doing great. It will get easier and very, very soon. There will be tears, but the joys will surpass all your hard moments. Keep on going. Your doing a good job, mom.

Reply

65 Sara R. October 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I love that you shared all of this…before I had kids I had NO idea how much breastfeeding hurt and how hard it was! I try to give moms-to-be the truth and people tell me I’ll scare them, but I think not enough people talk about the difficult parts! The pain DOES go away completely though, with both of my daughters it took about a month to get to that point. Your supply will also calm down so that by 6 months or so you probably won’t need the breast pads and you won’t be waking up in a pool of milk anymore :-) You’ve gotten through the tough part!

Reply

66 Brett October 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm

My letdown (the leaking you’re describing) is so intense that I use the cloth pad AND the disposable one! I literally “tape” the disposable onto the cloth one. Isn’t it crazy all of the new things you have to learn? And I thought my body went through a lot of change during the pregnancy!

Reply

67 Nicole October 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Kath thank you so much for this post. I spent juuust this morning in tears while my 3-weel old breastfed, it has such its ups and downs! The link to Kellymom.com was so reassuring with my seems-like cluster feeder with a fussy period immediately following. Ah, pure relief knowing that everything going on is normal and gals like yourself are sharing their stories to remind me that I’m far from alone in this!!

Reply

68 emily October 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I am enjoying reading about your journey. Things will get so much better and you will love it on a different level. I just weaned my son 3 weeks ago after 16 months of wonderful breastfeeding. I miss it :)

Reply

69 Monica October 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm

You are doing so great mama! Breastfeeding is not easy at all, and I applaud you for maintaining a positive attitude through it all!

I had a mid-November baby and the winter was so hard on my nipples. I did love the Mother Love ointment, but needed something stronger when things got bad. Talk about healing with real food, I randomly turned to ghee because I was using ghee to help keep Wrigley’s nose moist at night when the lack of humidity was bothering him. It was a random discovery that worked wonders!

Reply

70 Amelia October 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

By the time he gets teeth your nipples will be so tough you won’t even notice….for better or worse ;)

So glad you have lots of milk and feeding is going well – such a magical time!

Reply

71 a week behind October 2, 2012 at 1:02 am

I had my little boy a week ago now and it’s so interesting to read other mother’s experiences. I recognise the angry bird – mine does the same often towards the end of the feed. I sometimes think it happens when he needs winding but also wants to feed and he’s getting frustrated. On the subject of winding how are you finding that? Is Mazen particularly gassy?

To offer a slightly different perspective on the pain issue – this is something that I was really concerned about too before having my little guy. Lots of my friends had reported that breastfeeding was pretty painful and it was something I was expecting. My mum on the other hand claimed that she had loved breastfeeding and that it hadn’t hurt a bit. I thought she’d probably just forgotten about it (it was over 30 years ago for her!). BUT, as it turns out, it doesn’t hurt for me either. For the first 3 days I had a few latch issues, with him tending to narrow his latch and clamp on my nipple as the feed progressed, but honestly it general feels quite nice now. I just wanted to say this for the benefit of those reading this who will be breastfeeding in the future and are worrried about it that you might also find that it’s a pain-free experience.
Anyway, I hope it continues to get easier and easier for you!

Reply

72 Anna October 2, 2012 at 8:55 am

So glad you posted this. I’m not a mom yet, not even pregnant yet, but I think breastfeeding is a silent battle that new moms keep to themselves a lot of the time.

Reply

73 Areej October 2, 2012 at 10:29 am

Kath you should try Mustela nipple/breast feeding balm. I think you can get it in the US. Breastfeeding hurt for 2 months, and I started to feel better after this cream. It could also be that my nipples adapted, but I don’t think so! I think anything is worth a try. Good luck!

Reply

74 Diane October 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Great post, it really brings back some sweet memories. I just wanted to say that I am really really enjoying your posts about Mazen – all the little details about the first few weeks I wish I had written down for a baby book. It is great the see a real account of the great parts and the hard parts of having a newborn. Sometimes moms do nothing but complain, and sometimes moms just want to act like supermom and say everything is great, but the truth is it is hard and amazing at the same time and you do a great job of showing both sides and detailing exactly what you are going through.

The first few weeks of nursing are the hardest, but it will get so much better soon. kellymom is such a great resource!

Reply

75 Jenn October 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm

True, not everyone leaks…and not every baby spits-up at every feed. Levi rarely spit up. I never used a nursing cover either (mainly because I have no modesty and didn’t want to pay the money for a “cover” that to me is essentially a throw cloth. I just nursed under my shirt, which worked well for us. Although, this was after I didn’t have to lie down to breastfeed for 5-6 weeks. Ha. The things we go through for our children. Sounds like you guys are doing great!

Reply

76 Kristianna October 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Re: leaking on the ‘off’ side, this may seem weird, and it’s not something you want to do, say in public, but if you press against that side’s nipple it will stop the leaking. In a few weeks it’ll be easier. I breastfed my three for a combined 7 years (my baby who’s now 4.5 and of course fully weaned, got one last cold season because I am a sucker and the last few months it was really a sip before bed, not like what you’re doing). Anyway, stick with it, and it’ll lighten up with the leaking.

I loved soothies almost more than my baby, especially my first born, because I was so hurt by her wolverine latch… I’d keep a pair in the fridge and slap them on after feeding. It was like heaven came to earth for me. :)

Reply

77 Sharon@DiscoverExploreLearn October 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I love reading about your adventures with Mazen (and LOVE his name, by the way!)

I leaked a lot in the beginning with each of my boys (I have 4), and a friend of mine mentioned these – http://www.amazon.com/Milkies-Milk-Saver-Breast-Collector-Storage/dp/B001SMBRWO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349320333&sr=8-1&keywords=breast+milk+catcher-

Genius, I tell you :-)

Reply

78 KERF October 4, 2012 at 2:14 am

Genius! Ordered one!

Reply

79 Melissa October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I am going to bookmark this for whenever I start my career as a lactation consultant to give my future clients hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My baby girl was very sick when she was born. She had seizures and was in our local NICU at three days old and stayed there for 3 weeks. I didn’t get to really nurse like I should’ve until she was 3 1/2 weeks old, so I didn’t have the initial ‘bump’ to get over. She nursed somewhat on the first day/night home, but the second night home, I anxiously gave her the first at home bath (I don’t know why, but I was terrified to!). After it was over, I sat down on the couch to nurse a screaming baby, and I guess she was really hungry, because she latched, and that was all she wrote! She was a booby baby from that day on until she self-weaned at 13 months old.

I miss it so much, and while I can’t really sympathize with the rough patch, I can sympathize 1000% about leaking. No one told me how bad it could get! I was so shocked when she was home a few days and I nursed lying down for the first time, and one boob dripped milk on her head while she was nursing from the other! LOL! My milk came in on day 3 (coincidentally, the same day she was transferred to the NICU) and standing in the shower that night, crying my eyes out, I thought my boobs were going to pop! I had to wear THREE nursing pads until she came home from the NICU. If I went longer than 90 minutes between pumping, I could count on leaking non-stop until I did pump. Sometimes, I’d hand express just to let some of the pressure off! The NICU doctor told me that I was just an over producer, and the NICU nurses joked I could supply the whole NICU. I’d pump 8 ounces from EACH breast every 90 minutes. No lie.

Anyway, back to the leaking, for the first 6 months, if I got anywhere near her during nursing time or if I heard another baby cry while I was away from my daughter, I’d feel the tingly let down and once or twice, I got caught without a nursing pad, and had to use whatever was on hand (paper towel, toilet paper, wash cloth onesie in the car LOL)

Fun times. :D

Reply

80 Kristine October 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Reading this reminds me of how breastfeeding started out with me and my son, who is now almost 9 months old. It was pretty painful for me too, probably until about 6 weeks. Don’t worry..pretty soon it won’t hurt at all!
I think my next baby I’ll have to get the Brest Friend nursing pillow..it looks so much more supportive than the Boppy. And I’m glad you shared about the nursing tanks and bras..I’ll have to invest in those as well, next time.
It’s so much fun reading about your new little man. :)

Reply

81 Shannon October 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

When I nursed my twins, it took a week for my milk to come in, the day it came in my husband said “Hello Dolly Parton”, LOL. The first 2-3 weeks were terrible, not enjoyable at all, my daughter used me as a human pacifier, and my son was a great nurser, but the combination of both had my nipples raw and in pain. But once that went away, breastfeeding was wonderful, I nursed them for 9 months. Wish I would have nursed my first born, but I don’t think I had the right mind set, I was pretty young when I had him (19) and had the twins at (23). They are 21 and 18 now, time goes by so quickly, enjoy every second

Reply

82 KERF October 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I can’t imagine nursing twins!!

Reply

83 Katy October 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I had to go back to work on Monday…8 weeks :( But, by Wednesday nursing was so much better. Caleb & I were practically pain free (80-90%) since about 6 weeks, but for some reason it hurt more on the left then the right. Today, 100% pain free. It’s fantastic. I think the difference must have been the bottles for him and the pump for me. He had problems with that lower lip thing too & now he opens way way up to really get that perfect latch. I saw you got a pump, so hopefully by adding in bottle sessions with Daddy will get you guys to that 100% too.

Reply

84 Li March 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hi Kath, I bookmarked this back when it was a new post,my how time flies. Anyway I was wondering about the sizing on the Bravado tanks. Did you order your before preg size? or current size? I’m going to order a few, but don’t want to have them too small or too big (not that seems possible at this point, jeez!!!) :) Anyway thanks keeping up with Baby Kerf site.

Reply

85 KERF March 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I ordered the same size as the bras, which was 2 sizes bigger than pre pregnancy (yikes)

Reply

86 Lisa May 2, 2013 at 8:41 am

Hi, I wanted to see what Bravado bra you liked but the link on Amazon is broken…

Reply

87 KERF May 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

Fixed it, thanks! Here’s the link. Bravado Bliss.

Reply

88 Smarika August 20, 2013 at 5:10 am

I recently gave birth to my baby and a friend recommended Morph Nursing Bras to me. I tried it and it was wonderful! Nursing has become so easy and it is very comfy too.

Reply

89 Anuradha October 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Hi! Interesting post! One ques- At what point in time do you think, does one have to invest in the nursing bras as well sleep bras and how many does one really need?

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: